British supermarket chain Tesco is evaluating whether to close its struggling American Fresh & Easy grocery store venture after it failed to deliver acceptable shareholder returns, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The chain spans 200 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, which are often located in areas known as food deserts.
“Whilst the business has many positives, its journey to scale and acceptable returns will take too long relative to other opportunities,” Phillip Clarke, Tesco’s chief executive, said in a written release.
The firm said it will conduct a strategic review of the U.S. grocery chain before making a final decision, which could include selling off the stores instead of shutting them. Company officials noted they have been approached by a number of parties interested in acquiring either some or all of the business, or partnering with Tesco.
In the meantime, Fresh & Easy stores remain open for business.
“Our focus remains on our people and our customers,” said Brendan Wonnacott, director of Fresh & Easy’s corporate affairs. “It is business as usual in our stores.”
For more information on the ongoing plight of Fresh & Easy check out CSD’s Sept 2011 cover story: http://www.csdecisions.com/2011/09/27/will-tesco-turn-it-around/